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Consumers Spending More Than Ever for New Vehicles

Industry revenues hit all-time high, average transaction prices near record.

by on Feb.02, 2016

While car sales were slowed up due to winter weather in some parts of the country, buyers paid more for their vehicles in January.

Despite the chill that last month’s blizzard delivered, automakers managed to shovel up record revenues in January, while consumers paid near-record amounts for the vehicles they purchased.

New vehicle buyers paid a collective $38 billion last month, the 25th consecutive month of year-over-year gains, according to tracking firm TrueCar. And while average transaction prices also jumped, they fell a bit short of the previous record, analysts noted.

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“Growing transaction prices reflect growing consumer preference in trucks and SUVs,” said Tim Fleming, an analyst with Kelley Blue Book.  “Consideration in thse segments also is helped by the country’s lowest gas prices since 2009, a trend which is expected to last through year-end.” (more…)

Land Rover, Toyota Take Top Honors for Residual Value

ALG releases list of top 26 vehicles that lose the least.

by on Nov.17, 2014

Land Rover with its Range Rover Sport took the top spot in ALG's Residual Value Awards for Premium brands this year.

With new vehicles sales continuing to steam roll through the year, finding reasons to purchase one type over another can be a difficult task. For some, which brand will lose the least money may sway the final choice. If that’s the final piece to the purchase puzzle, then it would appear Toyota and Land Rover are the brands to buy.

ALG announced the two were the winners of its 15th annual Residual Value Awards (RVA), for Premium Brand and Mainstream Brand, respectively.

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In addition to the brands, the company also honors vehicles in 26 segments that are forecast to retain the highest percentage of their Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price after a three-year period. (more…)

New Car Sales Booming, But Good Deals Abound points out best August offers.

by on Aug.14, 2014

Looking for a good deal this month? The Fiat 500 can be gotten for as little as $99 a month, according to

New car and truck sales are still humming along in 2014, but if you’re searching for a deal, compact and midsize sedans are the segments where you should start the hunting.

There are deals for those looking to lease or buy, especially for the Fiat 500. Right now, according to, a 2014 Fiat 500 can be had for as little as $99 a month for 24 months. It requires nearly $2,400 down. However, if you’re looking to buy, the same car can be had for $265 a month for 60 months using the $3,000 cash back the automaker is offering buyers.

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“Compact and midsize sedans are among the most popular segments in the United States, and this month consumers will be able to find red-hot deals on the Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Cruze,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book’s (more…)

Average American Can No Longer Afford “Average-Priced” New Car or Truck

But upward trend is likely to continue.

by on Mar.12, 2014

The price of the average Chrysler product rose 6.1% year-over-year in February, according to TrueCar.

New car prices have been rising rapidly in recent years, various studies showing that Average Transaction  Prices – what buyers actually pay after factoring in incentives and options – have hit record levels.  And that means that more and more American motorists are being priced out of the market.

The average median-income household can no longer afford to purchase the “average-priced” new car or truck in 24 of the country’s 25 largest metro areas, according to a new study by the financial website  The exception is Washington, D.C., according to the study, which also found that in 16 cities, median family incomes fell at least $10,000 short of what it would take to buy the typical new vehicle.

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“Too many families are spending way too much on new cars and trucks,” said Mike Sante, managing editor of “Just because you can manage the monthly payment doesn’t mean you should let a $30,000 or $40,000 ride gobble up such a huge share of your paycheck.”


EV Sales Hampered More by Price than Range Anxiety

Survey shows buyers wants vehicles below $25,000.

by on Dec.02, 2013

EVs like the Chevrolet Volt, pictured with GM CEO Dan Akerson, have eased buyers' concerns about the range of EVs. However, they're still too expensive.

All of the efforts by manufacturers to make electric vehicles more popular seem to be working; however, there is one issue that they haven’t resolved that may be keeping EV sales from taking off: price.

EVs and all their variants – hybrids, plug-in hybrids, etc. – are still too expensive, in spite of potential savings on fuel.

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Navigant Research, a consulting firm located in Boulder, Colo., surveyed nearly 1,100 people to determine how they feel about new vehicle prices and electric vehicles. The company found that 71% want their next vehicle to cost less than $25,000, while 41% are looking below $20K. (more…)

Average American Can No Longer Afford the Typical New Car

Washington, D.C. the only city with high enough household income.

by on Feb.27, 2013

Can you afford this 2013 Ford Fusion -- or any other typical 2013 model? Maybe not, finds a new study.

Looking to buy a new car, truck or crossover? You may find it more difficult to stretch the household budget than you expected, according to a new study that finds median-income families in only one major U.S. city actually can afford the typical new vehicle.

The typical new vehicle is now more expensive than ever, averaging $30,500 in 2012, according to data, and heading up again as makers curb the incentives that helped make their products more affordable during the recession when they were desperate for sales.

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According to the 2013 Car Affordability Study by, only in Washington, D.C. could the typical household swing the payments, the median income there running $86,680 a year. At the other extreme, Tampa was at the bottom of the 25 large cities included in the study, with a median household income of $43,832.


Superstorm Likely to Hit New, Used Car Buyers in the Wallet

But you could get more for your trade-in over the coming months.

by on Oct.31, 2012

Cars float out of a flooded garage in Manhattan after Superstorm Sandy drove record floodwaters into the city. Photo courtesy Ray Wert, Jalopnik.

With much of the Eastern Seaboard still digging out and drying out from Superstorm Sandy estimates now put the damage at anywhere up to $50 billion, perhaps more.  But in the weeks to come, even consumers as far away as the West Coast could feel the pinch.

That is likely to be especially true for car buyers.  Early estimates suggest that tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of vehicles were damaged to the point they will need to be replaced.  And that is likely to drive up prices for both new and used vehicles in the weeks and months ahead, experts warn.

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If there’s a positive side for consumers it could mean better prices for those looking to trade in a car. For the industry, it’s likely to add even more momentum to the U.S. automotive market’s ongoing recovery.


Yes, You’re Likely Paying More for that New Car

Makers curb incentives, raise prices.

by on Aug.01, 2012

Does the price on that Munroney Sticker seem a little higher than you might have expected?

Yes, you probably will pay more for that new car, truck or crossover you’ve been eyeing.  With U.S. sales rising and factories, in many cases, stretched to the limit manufacturers have been curbing incentives and nudging prices higher, according to industry analysts.

The good news is that whatever you buy, your next new vehicle is likely to be significantly better-equipped than the product it replaces, reports J.D. Power and Associates.

Anyone watching the Olympics might get the impression this is a great time to buy, at least if a low price tag is the objective.  Chevrolet, in particular, has been heavily promoting its “Total Confidence Pricing” program, implying that all buyers are getting an especially low-ball number.  Other makers have been pitching low-interest loans and other givebacks to get shoppers into showrooms.

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But the deals aren’t as good as they might first seem, according to Jesse Toprak, chief analyst with  “Even though automakers may give the impression that they are ramping up incentives spending….(they) are increasingly moving away from cash incentives and pushing finance and lease programs,” he said.


Car Prices Tumble – Especially Japanese Products

Used vehicle prices also on the decline.

by on Jun.28, 2012

As the holiday approaches, motorists will be able to celebrate the decline in both new and used car prices.

The start of the typically strong summer buying season has brought with it some great news for U.S. car buyers.  According to a variety of sources, prices are tumbling on both new and used vehicles – especially those Japanese offerings that were in short supply last year in the week of that country’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.

While prices vary by model and manufacturer, you can expect to pay about $500 less for the typical new car, truck or crossover than you would have for the same product a year ago, according to research by Kelly Blue Book.

Meanwhile, after a record run-up in pricing during the winter and spring, used car prices also appear to be on the decline.

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Some of the biggest discounts, the tracking firm reports, come on Japanese models like the Honda Civic and even the Toyota Prius.  But that may be a bit misleading.  Following the March 2012 natural disaster, most Japanese products were in short supply, leading makers to trim back rebates and other discounts – effectively raising prices.  Those givebacks are now getting back to more normal levels, Bob Carter, head of the Toyota division, tells


New Car Prices Hit All-Time Record

Torrid pace not likely to slow much anytime soon.

by on Apr.10, 2012

Strong demand for the Elantra has helped drive up the price of the typical Hyundai product this year.

Remember “sticker shock”?  After several years of heavily discounting their products in a desperate bid to keep assembly lines rolling, automakers are finding themselves back in the driver’s seat once again – pushing prices to record levels.

And it’s “not a blip,” warns one senior analyst, who expects the trend to continue for several years. The good news for shoppers is that trade-ins are also yielding better prices – and while that new car, truck or crossover may command more money than ever before it’s also likely to include significantly more features and markedly better fuel economy than the vehicle it replaces.

The average new vehicle sold in the U.S. in March cost $30,748, according to data tracking service  That was up from $28,771 a year earlier and marks an all-time record.

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“It’s not a blip. It’s a trend we’ve been seeing for months,” said Jesse Toprak, TrueCar’s chief automotive analyst.  That’s despite the fact, he says, that “This might seem counter-intuitive at a time you might expect to see people buying cheaper cars because fuel costs are rising so fast.”